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Reid endorses Kihuen in 4-way Democratic House primary

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid walks out of a luncheon for Nevada lawmakers visiting Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress with his arm around State Sen. Ruben Kihuen on Saturday, July 23, 2011.

Updated Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 | 10:19 a.m.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says he's endorsing Nevada state Sen. Ruben Kihuen in his bid for Congress.

Reid and Kihuen issued a joint statement Thursday about the endorsement, which is a major boost for the candidate in a four-way Democratic primary.

Reid called Kihuen his friend and said nobody was more qualified to take on incumbent Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy.

Kihuen said he was humbled by the support and share's Reid's vision on equality and the economy.

The coveted endorsement is expected to distinguish Kihuen from his three Democratic competitors, including philanthropist Susie Lee, former Nevada Assembly Speaker John Oceguera and former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores.

Nevada's 4th Congressional District leans Democratic, and the seat is considered ripe for a Democratic takeover in 2016.

The Reid endorsement boosts Kihuen’s position as the establishment-backed candidate in the race. It will give a large network of fundraising and grassroots support to Kihuen, a former staffer in Reid’s office. Kihuen, 35, served two terms in the Nevada Assembly and is amid his third in the state Senate.

The congressional district is a unique mix of rural and urban areas and was considered a safe seat for Democrats until last year.

Hardy won what many called the surprise race of the 2014 midterm cycle.

Las Vegas Sun reporters Kyle Roerink and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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